Tag Archives: Pakistan/India Border

Sunset at the India/Pakistan Border

2 Oct

A few days ago, we hopped in a cab that drove us 30 kilometers west of Amritsar to the India/Pakistan border. These two countries are not at war, so we did not expect the tense atmosphere of the DMZ between North and South Korea, but their relationship is, well, strained.

Whatever we expected in our minds, however, was very, very, very far from the reality that greeted us. There was music, there was dancing, there were hype men! None of us had ever seen anything like it.

 

Eric:  It was like we were at a high school pep rally.

Dane:  Only there wasn’t a car to hit with a sledgehammer.

Alan:  I don’t know how to describe it.

Eric:  It was really interesting because it was a female-dominated ceremony. The women danced. The women carried the flags to the gate separating the countries.

Dane:  But most of the soldiers were men. There were only two women soldiers. They started the high stepping then stood on the side for the rest of it.

Eric:  When they did their kicks, they almost hit themselves in the face.

Alan:  The hype man started it all, though.

Dane:  I felt like we were at a Snoop Dogg concert only with less rapping and references to marijuana and sex.

Alan:  The hype men got the crowd going. He was always shouting, starting chants, and pointing at the Pakistan side.

Eric:  I was amazed at the crowd. Where we were sitting was an amphitheater, and it was full. There were loads of people that couldn’t get seats. It’s hard to believe this ceremony happens everyday. But my favorite part was the huge picture of Ghandi over one of the gates with two snipers positioned on either side of his image. It seemed ironic.

Alan:  I thought the best part was the random eruption of Bollywood dances. No men allowed.

Dane:  My favorite part was the hats.

Alan:  The music did become a pissing-contest between the two countries, though.

Eric:  India had huge speakers facing Pakistan and blasting their music.

Dane:  Pakistan had the same thing toward India.

Eric:  But their speakers weren’t as big.

Alan:  Pakistan, however, had far fewer people. Of course, that correlates to their population sizes.

Dane:  We should say that this ceremony is for the lowering of the flags at sunset.

Alan:  And on the Pakistan side, all the women were on the left. All the men were on the right. They were separated, which was not the case for India.

Dane:  It was like a giant party.

Alan:  As sunset approached, the soldiers began marching toward the gate, then nearly high-kicking themselves in the face, then saluting each other.

Eric:  The whole ceremony was remarkably well coordinated on both sides. The Indian soldiers and the Pakistan soldiers all marched toward the gate at the same time, and they even shook hands when they opened the gate at the border.

Dane:  They also managed not to kick each other in the face at that point.

Alan:  And when they lowered the flags, they were lowered at the exact same rate.

Dane:  The whole thing was fantastic, well worth the short journey outside Amritsar. I’ll never forget it.

Alan:  It’s hard to explain really. Hopefully our pictures can do it justice. Our words certainly can’t.

Eric:  There was shouting. There was music. There was kicking. Hardly what you’d expect at a border between two countries that have a dicey relationship.

Dane:  Well, maybe the kicking.

(We’d add a video, but WordPress won’t allow us to upload any videos unless we pay them money. We refuse to do that. Perhaps we’ll try to upload a video to Facebook soon, but the internet everywhere we’ve been so far isn’t good enough to do so in a timely manner. So, just pictures for now.)

A Quick Update

28 Sep

In the last few days, we saw the Taj Mahal from at least three different angles:

It was incredible how the building completely dominated the whole area.  It was beautiful. Nothing more to say.

We received love advise from one of our tuk-tuk drivers:

“Bob Marley said, ‘No woman, no cry’, but in India, no woman means ‘No chapati, no chai’.”

We saw the Amber fort at Jaiprur:

Alan referred to himself as an “Americ–“

We spent sixteen hours on a train, taking it overnight from Jaipur to Amritsar:

It should have only taken thirteen and a half, but trains and running on time are phrases vehemently opposed to each other within the borders of India.

Also, at one point, Dane’s bed was used by food vendors to sell their goods. Dane was in the bed at the time.

We saw the border between India and Pakistan:

There were hype men at the border, pumping up the crowds watching the flag lowering ceremony!

And we saw The Golden Temple at Amritsar in the daytime and the night:

 

Tomorrow, we’re off to Delhi for a few days. More posts to come.